The data read and write operation in a hard disk drive (HDD) relies on precision mechanical components, such as air bearing sliders, suspension, and piezo actuators. Many of those mechanical components are sensitive to mechanical disturbances. It is found that sound a disturbance (or airborne disturbance) increases the position error signal (PES), such that the tracking, following and seeking performance is compromised. For a data storage enclosure and server in a data center, cooling fans generate strong sound noise, resulting in degradation of the performance of HDDs. In this study, we showed that the PES degrades when placing a sound source next to the HDD, indicating that the sound-induced vibration links to the mechanical components inside the HDD. It is also found that the PES is very sensitive to the location of the sound source. A vibration model was built by finite element method (FEM). The simulation results were compared to experiments on a thin plate structure to explain this dependency on the location of sound source.

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